This Sunday, SodaStream (SODA) will air a Super Bowl commercial for the second consecutive year. The advertisement will cost millions, but is only a small component of SodaStream’s aggressive campaign to steal market share from soda juggernauts Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsico (PEP) .
However, it appears that this year’s ad is too aggressive for FOX’s tastes. The advertisement features Scarlett Johansson and was rejected for air – but not for reasons one would expect.
SodaStream is not allowed to air the advertisement in its current state because it directly mentions Coke and Pepsi. This explanation is bizarre, as companies directly mention competitors all the time. Carmakers, telecoms, and TV providers compare themselves to competitors regularly, so FOX’s move is somewhat perplexing.
There could be a conflict of interest in place because Pepsi sponsors the Super Bowl and is one of the NFL’s largest sponsors in general. Pepsico also owns Doritos and a variety of snack and beverage companies that will surely air Super Bowl commercials. Therefore, FOX and the NFL may be picking sides with one of its largest financial contributors.
Nonetheless, an edited version of the advertisement will still air minus the direct reference to Coke and Pepsi. Moreover, the ban if anything will help SodaStream’s publicity. They appear victimized in this scenario and millions of people have already seen the ad, and the Super Bowl is still days away.
In fact, banning a Super Bowl commercial is often a business blessing and many companies even do it on purpose.
Banned Super Bowl commercials usually make the news, go viral on the Internet, and earn hundreds of thousands of Youtube hits. A popular and controversial ad campaign can often increase notorierty and business. Best of all for these companies, a banned commercial only costs the price of production because they do not need to pay the multi-million dollar Super Bowl advertisement fee.
However, most of the commercials that are banned either have inappropriate business models or attempt to air commercials that are too raunchy for hundreds of millions of men, women, and children to view. These four serve as prime examples.
AshleyMadison.com’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial was banned from the air for obvious reasons. The website is an online dating service connecting people who are currently in other relationships. In other words, AshleyMadison facilitates affairs. For this reason, the commercial was deemed unfit for TV.
PETA’s Super Bowl commercial was far too sexual for national television, but the animal protection organization got what it wanted – an ad campaign that gained the attention of millions of Americans.
Pornhub, a pornography site, submitted this Super Bowl ad in 2013 and is shockingly innocent. The commercial features an elderly couple sitting next to one another in a park while calm piano music serenades the scene. However, the company’s business model made it unfit for air, and Pornhub got lots of free press in exchange.
Fantasy Video Greetings, an adult eCard service, attempted to air this ad but was banned for sexual innuendo and promoting gender stereotypes. The company no longer exists so the ban didn’t help business too much, but the idea was likely a publicity stunt that still generated 142,000 views.